VHF -Makes and models

I saw Camvans post on VHF handhelds and since I have decided it is time to get one I was wondering if those of you that have them can give me any advice on which ones are good and which ones are good to keep away from.

Thanks in advance,


Can’t go wrong with ICOM…

– Last Updated: Aug-26-06 7:55 AM EST –

Just pick your size and price...

I have the larger M32.. West Marine sells one with a Li-ion battery that lasts longer.. I'm happy with it..

yup, icom it is

– Last Updated: Aug-26-06 8:05 AM EST –

couldn't agree more, though try to go with the li-ion batteries.Had the M1V(lost overboard), now also have the M32. Very nice buttons. Also use m45 base on sailboat.

ICOMs Small One
Hey Jack,

I sometimes feel I am turning into an electric gadget. You can give mine a try next time you are down this way or vise a versa. I have the small ICOM unit, forget its name. It is about 3/4 the size of your map76 including antena. It is waterproof and has all the popular functions, waterproof, weather and alerts, selective scan, and others I have not figured out. I like it being very small and have added a clip that I can used to attach it to my shoulder strap on my PFD.

That said, I don’t normally take it except when going offshore.

Happy Paddling,


I’ve been happy with my Uniden. I chose one with that operates on AA bateries so I could always find replacement batteries in a pinch. Waterproof. On sale for $60:


Whatever you get, back it up with an Aquapack handheld VHF pack. Well worth the investment.

Long links…
When you post those really long links it really screws up my disply… errr

Icom M72 is what I use.
I don’t bag it and especially like the feature to drive water out of the speaker grill.

Works well. I keep it in my pfd pocket and rolling and breaking waves don’t seem to affect it.

go to tinyurl.com
if you go to www.tinyurl.com, it will ask for the long link and then give you a short form that is very user friendly. just a heads up from the geek here :wink:

Hey Jack
I use a bulky handheld job. Standard Horizon something or other. It has held up well over time but if I had it to do over again I’d get a more compact one that would fit in my pfd pocket. A kayak buddy has a pocket one and he’ll pick up signals that my bulky one won’t. Maybe it’s just that foot or two elevation difference? I dunno. The sound quality on his small one is really good.

Icom M72
Highest water resistant rating on the market, highest output @ 6W (negligible, but every watt is important to the low to the water kayaker), very loud speaker that can be heard with noisy background (this is extremely important–what sounds loud enough at home or in the store will often not be loud enough in winds and waves–firsthand experience here…) plus only radio that I know of with a feature to drive water out of the radio speaker so that the speaker can be heard in very adverse conditions. This radio almost seems like it was designed for kayakers.

Raymarine 101
I have a Raymarine 101, it uses its own battery, and it uses AA batteries, so you have backup. It is “waterproof” and gets pretty good reviews. I used it in Prince William Sound this summer, and It lived up to all expectations. I always had the weather report, the tide report, heard the Coast Guard report, and when I needed to get ahold of others in range, it worked great. I recommend this one.

VHF Radios
are like kayaks, paddles, PFDs, etc. - it is a matter of personal preference. In the past I’ve owned a couple of Uniden Marine radios (Presidente and Ambassador) and they worked great 'til I loaned then out and they got saturated. (Learned waterproof/water-resistant doesn’t mean a damn thing to a couple of college kids doing “bomb rolls”.)

Shortly thereafter I joined the local VFD and decided to buy my own radio. I selected a ICOM FC-11 (16 Channels) and in addition to having the Fire Channels I had added the more popular Marine Channels (16, 19, 22, 73) so I would have to keep track of only one radio.

It’s not waterproof/resistant but I have a dry bag for it.



Professional mariners
have enjoyed ICOM’s reliability for years. I just purchased the M72, as my 15 year old ICOM is in rough shape…though still working. Perhaps there are other radios that are as good, but I’m partial to ICOM.

got an Icom IC-M88 2 weeks ago and
am very happy with it. Although I hear the M72 has some good qualities, I will take the M88 as I understand it is more shock proof than the M72. I tried it this weekend in the straits of mackinac between lake michigan & huron and it worked like a charm.

Did you transmit with it? How far did you get?

Icom M88
I have the icom M88 as well. Nice radio and with good battery life.

JNJ…i transmitted only to my kayaking
partner, the farthest we separated was maybe 1/2 mile.

Is there any type of protocol to use when using a VHF radio? Ive never used one but I’ve been considering buying one. Id hate to get caught somewhere and not be able to contact anyone.

Using a VHF
Phoenixgsu… here is all the information you need to use VHF as a kayaker:


That would be the M88
It’s a very rugged little radio. Highly recommended!